Curriculum Overview

The Sixth Form curriculum is underpinned by the school values. The wider Sixth Form curriculum reinforces these values by ensuring that they permeate through each subject area's curriculum.

At Hedingham Sixth Form, every student has the opportunity to study a wide variety of courses (eg A Levels, BTEC's, Cambridge Technicals, T-Levels) across numerous different subject areas. Our curriculum is designed to maximise personal choice; enabling students to follow a personalised blend of courses that best suits their needs and intentions moving forward. We carefully support students with their academic progress but also provide individualised guidance regarding exit routes and plans beyond Hedingham School.

Within many subject areas we offer both a traditional A Level and a more vocational BTEC or CTEC this allows for students to choose the pathway that best suits them and their needs. For example, within the Media Department, students can opt between A Level Media and a CTEC in Digital media.

In Year 12, students at Hedingham are encouraged to take an enrichment course alongside their other courses. This aspect of our curriculum is a commitment to student personal development. We particularly focus on leadership qualities by encouraging students to commit to roles such as Subject Ambassadors, Peer Mentors etc. Skills and qualities gained through an investment in the wider Sixth Form curriculum. Enrichment courses offer our students greater currency when applying for universities or higher apprenticeships and can give students extra UCAS points. A number of these enrichment subjects can also be taken as full 2-year courses.

Alongside our Level 3 programme, we also offer a one-year Level 2 programme that gives students the opportunity to gain practical qualifications that help them progress onto Further Education colleges or apprenticeships at the end of Year 12.

We also offer students that did not achieve grade 4s in English and Maths the opportunity to resit. Through discussion, students who did not achieve a grade 4 in either English or Maths are still able to take a Level 3 programme alongside their retake.

Students can follow a variety of programmes at Hedingham:

• 3 A levels + enrichment
• 3 Vocational courses + enrichment
• A blended programme of A Levels and Vocational courses with an enrichment

Success at Key Stage 5 does not just include the work students do in the classroom. Our curriculum structure provides students with the opportunity to be self-regulated and independent. Each subject on their timetable is given 9 hours of study, plus individual study times where tasks and activities should be completed independently using the sixth form study facilities. All independent work is set by teachers on Teams and forms an integral part of the student’s wider curriculum. Students at Hedingham have three dedicated study areas and are also welcome to study within learning areas.

Teachers encourage students to undertake wider reading around topics. This both broadens their understanding of their subjects whilst also encouraging their love of learning.

The curriculum in Sixth Form is not limited to the classroom and is enhanced by other aspects of college life:

• Personal Development Programme
• Outside speakers
• Enterprise Challenge
• Next Steps advice
• One to one mentoring and target setting
• Sixth Form Leadership Programme
• Trips and Visits

Please use the navigation tools to browse through the different courses available to study at Hedingham Sixth Form.

A Levels, also known as Advanced Level qualifications, are subject-based educational programs designed to pave the way for various paths, including university enrollment, further academic studies, vocational training, or entry into the workforce. Typically, students undertake three or A Levels over a span of two years. These qualifications are typically evaluated through a series of rigorous examinations, but some A Levels (in more practical subjects) do still include coursework elements. To embark on an A Level journey, you typically require a minimum of five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) which includes Maths and English. However, it's essential to note that the specific entry requirements can vary on a year to year basis and the best information can found in our current prospectus.

A Levels are a versatile option, catering to students with a variety of goals. For those considering a university education, A Levels are often a prerequisite, with higher education courses typically requiring specific A Levels or combinations thereof. On the other hand, if you are uncertain about your future career or academic path, taking a diverse set of A Level subjects can help keep your options open. When selecting your A Level subjects, it's crucial to consider factors like your personal interests and strengths, as enjoying and excelling in a subject is key to success. Additionally, you may need to choose specific A Levels if you have a particular career or further study in mind, as these can serve as entry requirements. The beauty of A Levels lies in their ability to provide you with a solid educational foundation, opening doors to university, career opportunities, and vocational or work-based qualifications, such as apprenticeships. They are highly regarded by employers as a testament to a well-rounded education, making them a valuable asset in the job market.

And as you complete your A Levels, you might wonder, "What can I do with my A levels?" The possibilities are diverse. Whether you plan to continue your academic journey at university, seek employment, or explore vocational and work-based qualifications, A Levels provide a solid foundation, reflecting a high level of education and versatility that can open doors to numerous opportunities. They are not just a stepping stone; they are a key that unlocks a world of choices, allowing you to shape your future based on your unique interests and aspirations.

Technical Levels (or T Levels) represent a pioneering educational path in the United Kingdom. Introduced in September 2020, these two-year courses are typically pursued after completing GCSEs and are roughly equivalent in scope to three A Levels. What makes T Levels stand out is their unique collaboration between employers and educational institutions. This collaboration ensures that the course content aligns with industry requirements, effectively preparing students for skilled employment, apprenticeships, or further technical studies at higher education institutions.

T Levels blend practical and knowledge-based learning in school or college settings with real-world experience gained through an industry placement of at least 315 hours, equivalent to approximately 45 days. These placements provide students with invaluable exposure to their chosen field and offer a bridge between the classroom and the professional world.

As part of the government's educational initiatives, T Levels are gradually being introduced across England, with the ultimate goal of offering 24 different T Level options. These courses work in conjunction with other post-GCSE pathways, providing a range of choices to students. 

Each T Level program is crafted in close collaboration between employers and educational providers, with the support of the Department for Education and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. These courses are rooted in the same industry standards as apprenticeships, ensuring that students develop the precise technical knowledge and skills demanded by employers within their chosen industry.

A distinctive feature of T Levels is their structured approach, comprising both a technical qualification and a substantial industry placement. The completion of a successful T Level program, offers students a nationally recognized certificate. This certificate details their overall grade and a breakdown of their achievements, helping them showcase their readiness for the workforce or continued studies in a specific field. Students who do not meet all the T Level requirements are still acknowledged with a T Level statement of achievement, acknowledging the elements they've successfully completed. T Levels represent a significant step forward in equipping students with practical skills and knowledge that directly align with industry needs.

Cambridge Technicals stand as a diverse suite of vocational qualifications spanning various subject areas, meticulously crafted through collaboration with employers and higher education providers. These qualifications offer a unique gateway to cultivating the essential skills, knowledge, and behaviors vital for both academic progression and thriving in the workforce.

Designed with students aged 16 and over in mind, Cambridge Technicals cater to those with a keen interest in specific sectors. They can be pursued alongside other academic or vocational courses, or independently as a standalone qualification, providing flexibility and adaptability for learners.

Available at Level 3, Cambridge Technicals encompass a range of subjects, including Art and Design, Business, Digital Media, Engineering, Health and Social Care, Information Technology, Performing Arts, Applied Science, and Sport and Physical Activity. Each Cambridge Technical consists of a set number of units, a combination of mandatory and optional ones. The total number of units studied depends on the specific Cambridge Technicals size. A small subset of these are available to study at Hedingham School & Sixth Form - check out our prospectus for more information.

Mandatory units serve as the foundational building blocks, equipping students with the essential knowledge and skills pertinent to their chosen sector. The optional units allow students to tailor their qualification, focusing on areas of personal interest and aptitude for further progression. Assessment of each unit varies, either through activity-based assignments or externally-set evaluations such as exams.

Upon successful completion of a Cambridge Technical, students open doors to multiple avenues. These qualifications pave the way for employment opportunities, the pursuit of professional development programs, including apprenticeships, or continued education in higher education institutions. For those considering higher education, it's crucial to verify that the combination of subjects and qualifications aligns with the requirements of undergraduate courses at the universities or colleges you intend to apply to, ensuring a smooth transition towards your academic and career aspirations.

Level 3 BTEC Nationals hold a prestigious position in the world of higher education and career development, alongside A levels. These vocational qualifications, set at level 3, offer specialized, hands-on learning experiences across various sectors, equipping students with the practical skills and knowledge necessary to flourish in their chosen academic and professional pathways.

One of the compelling reasons to opt for BTEC Nationals is their demonstrated effectiveness in preparing students for the next steps in their educational and professional journeys. Whether you aspire to pursue higher education or dive directly into the workforce, these qualifications prove invaluable. Employers and higher education institutions increasingly favor BTEC-qualified individuals for their unique blend of academic and practical expertise. BTEC Nationals provide students with a tangible advantage, equipping them with the proficiency and know-how required to excel in real-world situations.

BTEC Nationals are celebrated for their wide-ranging curriculum, spanning 14 subject areas, ensuring that learners can explore their passions and interests. The versatility of these qualifications is underscored by statistics that showcase their impact on education and employment. A significant percentage of university entrants in the UK have proudly earned their place with BTEC qualifications. Furthermore, BTEC graduates enjoy impressive employment rates, with a substantial number securing full-time employment after graduation. Hedingham Sixth Form offers a small range of BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate qualifications (roughly equivalent to 1 A Level course in size), please check our prospectus for courses offered on a year by year basis.

The influence of a Level 3 BTEC qualification reaches beyond immediate outcomes. Over a lifetime, such qualifications can potentially boost earnings by a significant margin, enhancing career prospects and financial stability. The pathways opened by BTEC Nationals extend to both higher education and the workforce. Universities across the UK recognize the value of BTEC Nationals, with a substantial portion of them accepting students with these qualifications, including those within the esteemed Russell Group. This acknowledgement extends to UCAS points, and while applying to university can sometimes be complex for BTEC students due to the diverse range of titles available, support and guidance are readily available to navigate the application process.

Ultimately, BTEC Nationals empower students to take charge of their careers by instilling confidence, practical knowledge, and technical skills that are highly sought after by employers in today's competitive job market. These qualifications not only set students on a clear career path but also enable them to stand out as confident, work-ready individuals ready to contribute effectively to the world of work.